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Environmental Issues Have no Borders Experts Say

March 22, 2018

By Ana Gomez Salcido

Environmental issues have no borders and cannot be divided by a wall at the border, this according to experts.

The lecture, “The Californias in an environmental context” focused on climate change and the consequences, especially at the border, and the current need to face these changes through a binational effort.

Octavio Aburto, a research professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was one of the main speakers, who talked about a study called “Harnessing cross-borders resources to confront climate change,” endorsed by 94 experts of 47 different agencies in the United States and Mexico.

“Nowadays, there are discussions about a putting a new wall at the border that divides the United States from Mexico, but that doesn’t stop the air flow,” Aburto said. “The study talks about epidemic outbreaks that can go through one side of the border and to the next with pathogens traveling through the air.”

According to this study endorsed by the University of California in San Diego, Chagas, Zika and Chikungunya diseases will increase through the vectors proliferation.

The study also says that by year 2080, climate change will propitiate the migration of approximately 1.4 millions to 6.7 millions of people from Mexico to the United States, for the reduction in agriculture productivity in Mexican soil because of water problems.

“The lack of fresh water in some parts of Mexico must get the attention of people living in San Diego and California because the reduction in agriculture productivity in Mexico will mean that the markets it usually fills will also reduce. There is going to be less agricultural products in the market, and the prices will rise. This is a connection that people don’t see right now, and it’s not been dealt by public officials in a binational effort,” Aburto said. “If we don’t start taking measures as a binational front, the adaptation or the solution to this problems will be very difficult.”

The study also indicates that 14 percent of reptiles that usually live between Mexico and California could be extinct in the next 50 years, including three exclusive families of the region.

The study indicates that there is a need of promoting a binational cooperation to get a better adaptation of climate change and to increase, in any way possible, the social well being in the border communities.

The conference was held at the Mexican Consulate in San Diego in collaboration between Tijuana Innovadora and the marine program of the California Gulf at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Red Global MX members, on Wednesday, March 21.

“It’s very important for us to have this proximity and connections with the scientific community so they can explain to us what is really happening through truthful information,” said the Consul General at the Mexican Consulate in San Diego, Marcela Celorio. “To understand the border, you need to live in it. And this type of initiatives is for us to get to know what’s happening and to take advantage of all that knowledge for better decision in the climate change and environmental issues.”
The California drought was also discussed at the conference, and the audience could see some images of reservoirs at the North of California, to see the change and severity of the drought in recent years.

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